It’s a shame that Richard Clune is now out with a broken bone in his chest, as he was just starting to develop some positive buzz in training camp. From talking to people around camp, it didn’t seem to be a huge stretch to think that Clune might crack the NHL roster as that third- or fourth-line agitator/tough guy. I talked with Clune about the trade that brought him over from Dallas, and he also had some very interesting things to say about the somewhat-obvious comparisons to Sean Avery.
Clune, a third-round pick of Dallas in 2005, split time between the AHL and ECHL last season. In 38 games with Iowa of the AHL, Clune had three goals, five assists and 137 penalty minutes.
Plus, thanks to the wonder of YouTube, here are videos of Clune’s three preseason fights. The first one is from the first day of training camp, against Drew Bagnall. The other two are from Monday’s game against Phoenix, against Todd Fedoruk and Garth Murray.
Click after the videos to read the interview…
Question: Monday was the first time that Kings fans really got a look at you. Was that pretty representative of the way you like to play?
CLUNE: “Yeah, I’m just trying to continue what I did last year in the American League. Not a lot of people know me, because we were kind of hidden in that Midwestern loop in the American League. But I just play the same way there. Fortunately I got a good opportunity here with that trade and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
Question: How do you feel about getting traded? With most guys, it’s a mixture of disappointment and excitement. Is that how you felt?
CLUNE: “Yeah, at first I was a little surprised. I had just gone to Dallas’ rookie camp for a week, and all I was hearing was praise and how they were happy. I hadn’t always been in the best shape prior to this, but this summer I really got down to work and worked at my game and continued to do what I did last season in the American League. So it was a surprise, but it lasted for about a minute and then it was like, if L.A. wants me, that’s where I want to be. I couldn’t be happier with the trade.”
Question: Did you know much about the Kings, or follow them at all?
CLUNE: “I didn’t follow the NHL too much last year. I didn’t have enough money to get that NHL package, but I knew L.A. was kind of going through a changing of the guard. I know Mr. Lombardi wanted to instill a different philosophy than had been here prior. I know they wanted to get a little bit grittier. It’s interesting. It’s funny how things work, you know? One team lets you go and another team wants you. So it has worked out well.”
Question: There was a guy around here named Sean Avery, who played sort of an agitator-type role. Have you heard those comparisons?
CLUNE: “I’ve heard those comparisons since I was 17, going through my draft year. It’s good to be compared to him, in a way, but I don’t want to get anyone confused. Some of the stuff you hear about the guy, that’s not me. I pride myself on being a good guy in the dressing room. He might think he’s a little bit more talented and that he can get away with it, but to be honest with you, I’m really nothing without my teammates. I pride myself on being a good teammate. I’m not necessarily concerned if guys like me. I’m more concerned if guys respect me. I’m really nothing without my teammates. If you can’t stick together… Teams will never win if there are dressing-room divisions. It will never work. I may skate like the guy, hit like the guy and fight like the guy, but I think we’ve got a little bit of a different off-ice personality.”